Congresses has a lot on its “to do” list next week before they break for the month-long August recess. The most pressing issue relates to the budget: lawmakers are trying to determine if they can make a deal on the overall budget numbers since they will only have nine working days when they return to work in September and before the end of the federal fiscal year. There is concern that they will not have enough time to reach an agreement on how to keep the government running into FY14. While most Republicans are focused on keeping the lower spending levels dictated by the 2011 Budget Control Act, Democrats want a broader deal that would replace the sequester.
House and Senate Republicans want a continuing resolution (CR) that to reflect annual discretionary spending of $967 billion, the sequester level dictated by the Budget Control Act of 2011 (PL 112-25). Democrats in both chambers, meanwhile, are hoping to use the CR debate to broker a budget deal that would replace the sequester ahead of the start of FY14 October 1st that would restore the pre-sequester spending cap of $1.058 trillion for discretionary programs.
Unfortunately, it appears that the different sides have spoken to the each other about the potential terms for a CR, and that is what is causing angst with the short work period between now and the end of the fiscal year.
The Office of Federal Relations continues to advocate for preserving funding for research and student aid, as well as a balanced approach for any further deficit reduction efforts.